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Miss Texas' Outstanding Teen helps graduating high seniors in foster care

Posted at 10:02 AM, May 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-29 19:12:02-04

Almost 500 graduating seniors across Texas are also in the foster care system.

Miss Texas' Outstanding Teen Allie Graves shares why helping foster kids is part of her own healing.

It wasn't the graduation Allie Graves was expecting for the Class of 2020.

"During this has made me step back and realize what am I grateful for?" she said.

One of those things is the ability to share her story.

"I actually grew up in an abusive household and I was in foster care. I was adopted when I was six. All of these experiences I haven't forgotten about. That's the whole reason I compete in the first place. This gives me a platform to talk through these things. I used to be really uncomfortable with with but has now refined who I am," said Graves.

At the beginning of May she partnered with a non-profit to provide gift cards and a Day 1 bag for graduating high school seniors in Texas who are in the foster care system. It's called Operation PAL.

Out of almost 500 foster grads, fewer than 100 teens are waiting to be sponsored. The deadline is June 1.

"45 percent of kids in foster care graduate high school. So this is a major accomplishment," said Graves.

Foster Angels of Central Texas is another organization working to make grads feel special.

"How can we make kids that have been through so much through foster care and have graduated, how can they feel celebrated," said Maggie Sheppard of how the non-profit is figuring out ways to help.

"We are meeting kids where they are. So for some people it's a banner - for others, it's basic needs," said Sheppard.

Allie says no matter what, every child needs support.

"It has lead me to heal in ways I didn't know was possible. I can wake up every single day knowing that I am an over comer. They aren't defined by their circumstances. I'm living proof of that and they are too," said Graves.